Background: Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) steady state free precession (SSFP) cine sequences with high temporal resolution and improved post-processing can accurately measure RA dimensions. We used this technique to define ranges for normal RA volumes and dimensions normalized, when necessary, to the influence of gender, body surface area (BSA) and age, and also to define the best 2D images-derived predictors of RA enlargement.
Methods: For definition of normal ranges of RA volume we studied 120 healthy subjects (60 men, 60 women; 20 subjects per age decile from 20 to 80 years), after careful exclusion of cardiovascular abnormality. We also studied 120 patients (60 men, 60 women; age range 20 to 80 years) with a clinical indication for CMR in order to define the best 1D and 2D predictors of RA enlargement. Data were generated from SSFP cine CMR, with 3-dimensional modeling, including tracking of the atrioventricular ring motion and time-volume curves analysis.
Results: In the group of healthy individuals, age influenced RA 2-chamber area and transverse diameter. Gender influenced most absolute RA dimensions and volume. Interestingly, right atrial volumes did not change with age and gender when indexed to body surface area. New CMR normal ranges for RA dimensions were modeled and displayed for clinical use with normalization for BSA and gender and display of parameter variation with age. Finally, the best 2D images-derived independent predictors of RA enlargement were indexed area and indexed longitudinal diameter in the 2-chamber view.
Conclusion: Reference RA dimensions and predictors of RA enlargement are provided using state-of-the-art CMR techniques.